Helston Athletic manager Steve Massey says he is “more determined than ever” in life following a recent health scare.

The Blues boss, who has been in charge at Kellaway Park for three-and-a-half years, was admitted to hospital two weeks ago after having a stroke.

Massey, 62, is now recuperating at home after a spell at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, and he told the Packet how he had started to feel unwell whilst out walking in Truro.

He was on the phone to his son Elliot at the time, who recognised that the former Falmouth Town and Truro City boss’ speech was slurred and called an ambulance, which collected him a short while later and took him to hospital.

“I didn’t know that Elliot had phoned the ambulance, because otherwise I would have just passed it off as having a bit of a dizzy spell,” Massey said. “It was only the fact that he said, ‘What’s wrong with your speech? You’re talking funny, you’re not making sense,’ and I couldn’t form the words.

“I was very, very lucky. I was very fortunate.”

His spell in hospital and the recovery period has given the Blues manager the chance to take a break from thinking about football, but he added that he is “probably more determined” than before and “longs for many more seasons yet”.

“It’s made me even more determined to be perfectly honest,” he said. “I was on the ward with people who had catheters in, they couldn’t get up to go to the toilet and didn’t know where they were. Life can be taken away [at any moment].”

He added: “I’ve just got to be a little bit more careful, but it’s hard for somebody who is as competitive as I am. No matter what I’m doing, whether it’s been in the business or in the sport world, I’m just so, so competitive about it all.”

The former Bournemouth, Hull City and Wrexham striker also took the opportunity to praise the staff both during his stay at hospital and after he left to recuperate at home.

“I have to say the aftercare is superb,” he said. “Every other day I have had [calls from] the doctor or the nurse, I have had visits from the stroke nurse and it’s been wonderful. I can’t thank them enough, and if anybody ever doubted the service, it really is fantastic.”

Massey also wanted to use his experience to raise awareness of the illness, which can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time.

He was keen to highlight the importance of getting yourself checked out if you or someone you are close to is feeling unwell, with Massey recalling his initial thought that he was simply having a dizzy spell.

According to the Stroke Association, 100,000 people a year have strokes, with one occurring every five minutes on average.

It’s vital to know how to spot the warning signs of a stroke in yourself or someone else. Using the FAST test is the best way to do this:

  • Face: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?
  • Arms: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?
  • Time: If you see any of these three signs, it’s time to call 999.